On 13 November 1689, a little over three months after the vicious massacre of the habitants of Lachine by the Iroquois, an isolated settlement about 30 miles away called Lachenaie sufferred a similar attack. Although small in size, Lachenaie was a strategic trading post between the river and the 'upper country' and was located about 20 miles north of Montreal.
Although war had been officially declared between the English and the French in May 1689, many of the violent skirmishes between the French and English-supported Iroquois had been a result of the on-going Beaver Wars. These deadly encounters had forced the French authorities to require that the settlers arm themselves at all times and not go out alone. The fort at Lachenaie, protected by one company of the Carignan-Salières Regiment, allowed the residents to take refuge in the event of an Indian attack. Many of the habitants in the sparsely-populated area had migrated to the fort for protection after the August massacre at Lachine but, as the autumn weather began to take hold, the intense fear held by the residents after Lachine began to slowly dissipate and some of the residents returned to their daily lives.
On the evening of November 13th, an early snowfall provided an extra bit of security to the habitants who presumed that the Indians would not likely attack in the thick, blowing snow. They were wrong. During the night while the habitants slept, about 150 tribesmen from the Onondaga nation crept into the settlement in much the same way they had at Lachine. The Iroquois nation of Onondaga, led by Chief Black Kettle (Chaudiere Noire), had been emboldened by the Iroquois conquest a few months earlier. There self-righteousness emboldened them to proceed into the next phase of their quest to annihilate the French for what the Iroquois perceived as French encroachment on their lands.
The attack was vicious and swift. Most of the homes and barns were destroyed. Based on testimony of a soldier who saw the flames of the burning buildings from afar, it became apparent that their attackers arrived by the upstream of the "rivière des Mille Îles" and only those close to the fort had any chance of survival. More than one-third of the habitants - 33 people - vanished or were killed outright. Without a doubt, many of those who vanished were likely taken by the Onondaga to their camp and became the victims of atrocities beyond imagination.
However, one hostage by the name of Hilaire Girardin dit Sansoucy survived iroquois captivity and was eventually freed. He was able to relate some of the gruesomeness of the Lachenaie massacre and subsequent capture, torture and murder of some of those who were taken hostage after the raid. The list of names he provided is at the bottom of this page.
Girardin conveyed the grisly tale of the fate sufferred by François Ethier, his wife, Jeanne Pilet, and their young daughter who was about two years of age. According to Girardin, François was burned by his captors eight days after haven been taken. About eight to ten days after that, Jeanne Pilet was holding her daughter in her arms when one of the Iroquois snatched the child by the feet and cracked her head. She was then thrown in a large fire which consumed her body. Sometime later, the mother was also burned to death.
Another story conveyed by Girardin that is of particular interest is the family of Mathieu Hubou(lt) dit Deslongchamps and his wife, Suzanne Betfer. Suzanne had become a widow after Mathieu died in 1678. The couple had produced nine children of which five were still living. Two of their sons, Mathieu and Charles were not married. Another son, Jean, had married the prior year. Both of their surviving daughters, Geneviève and Anne, had married in the 1670s and had families of their own.
Many with an Avoyelles lineage may recognize the name of Anne Hubou dit Deslongchamps. Anne, born in 1658, was the wife of René Sauvageau dit Maisonnevue. They had produced six children, five of whom were still living on that fateful day in November 1689. (I am unsure about a sixth child.) Each of these children were 10-years-old or younger.
It is likely that this family lived a longer distance from the fort than some of the other familes and were, possibly, some of the first victims of the attack. By the time the nightmare ended, Anne Hubou dit Deslongchamps had lost her husband, four of her children, her mother, one of her brothers (Charles), her only sister (Geneviève), her brother-in-law (Julien Garnier), and five of her nieces/nephews (it is possible, according to two documents dated 1706 and 1711, that one of these five children was adopted by the Oneida Indian nation and was still living with the Oneida nation in 1711 ). Remarkably, Anne and her oldest daughter, Marie Anne, survived the horror of that night. Marie Anne would grow up to marry René Bouchard dit Lavallée - an ancestor of many Avoyelleans.
Sadly, no burial records exist for the victims since some of them were, supposedly, buried in a pit shortly after the massacre without the benefit of a blessing by a priest and the bodies of others were never recovered. However, on 25 November 1689, the priest performed a burial service for several of the unnamed victims who were buried during his absence. He specified in the burial record that the victims were killed by the Iroquois on this location/spot prior to his arrival. Here is the burial record:
Months later, on 9 March 1690, after repeated assaults from both sides, Gagnioton (Gagniegoton), one of three ambassadors of the Iroquois, came to Montreal to negotiate peace with Governor Frontenac. Apparently, Gagnioton admitted to having taken 8 prisoners from Lachenaie but confessed that he had only eaten 4 of them while keeping the other 4 alive to prove to Frontenac that he was 'less cruel' than the French. According to Gagnioton, the French had recently taken and killed 12 prisoners while keeping only 3 alive.
Unfortunately, peace was not reached at this point in history. Lachenaie was the site of several more Iroquois attacks which resulted in the abandonment of their homes by many habitants. By 1691, there were only four houses remaining on the coast of Lachenaie and only six families continued to cultivate the land. In 1688, there had been 548 arpents under cultivation and 177 animals but, by 1692, that had dropped to 163 cultivated arpents and 77 animals. King William's War did not end until 1697 but the French and the Iroquois did not achieve peace until 1701 via the treaty called the Great Peace of Montreal.
Members of the Hubou family that died as a result of the massacre:
Others who died as a result of the massacre: